Posted on Aug 07, 2023, 3 p.m.
Americans have developed a serious sweet tooth, and it has most feeling pretty guilty about it, according to a random double opt-in survey of 2,000 general population Americans conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Veggies Made Great, revealing that 74% of Americans have a sweet tooth and they are worried about how it is affecting their health.
41% of the respondents view sugar more as a treat or indulgence than as a part of their diet, and 51% are concerned about the potential health risks that are associated with sugar consumption. But while some are aware of certain specific sugar facts there are gaps in their knowledge and understanding of sugar intake. 48% believe that family health history may be a contributing factor to their concerns, 46% think that information they read online has them worried, and 35% think that insights from the doctor also has them concerned about sugar intake.
Added sugars are not the same as sugar found naturally in whole unprocessed food, added sugar typically refers to any sugars or sweeteners that are added to food/beverages during processing/preparation which includes table sugar/sucrose, honey, and high fructose corn syrup, among the many added sugar options. Consuming high amounts of added sugars contributes to a range of associated health issues ranging from obesity to diabetes, and fatty liver to heart disease.
Unfortunately, the analysis revealed that on average the respondents incorrectly think that the maximum recommended daily intake for an adult for added sugar is 5.7 teaspoons, which is almost six times the actual recommended maximum value. The average person believes that they only consume around 3.5 teaspoons of added sugars, but according to the American Heart Association, on average adults are eating 17 teaspoons of added sugars, which is over double the recommended value, every day, and this adds up to around 60 pounds annually. The AHA says that 47% of all added sugars come from beverages, and 31% comes from snacks/sweets.
Americans are underestimating just how much sugar a food contains and which kinds contain the most. 25% of the respondents incorrectly identified fruit juice as having the most sugar per serving from a list of foods/beverages over barbecue sauce, and on average the respondents believe that there are 3.9 teaspoons of sugar per serving in flavored yogurt when there can be six teaspoons or more per serving.
76% of the respondents knew that overconsumption of sugar can affect oral health, 56% are aware it can affect blood pressure, 43% knew it can affect the heart, but even fewer were aware of the effects on other aspects, only 38% were aware that it could affect their kidney, 29% knew it could affect their liver, and only 29% knew that too much sugar could negatively affect their cognitive abilities.
“Our research shows people may be underestimating the amount of sugar they consume, and it’s easy to see why,” says a registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for Veggies Made Great Carolyn O’Neil, in a statement. “While we often hear ‘sugar’ and think of dessert, there are many foods outside that category, from bread to ketchup, that contain added sugars people may be consuming without knowing it.”
67% of the respondents were surprised to have learned certain foods were more loaded with sugar than they thought they were before taking part in this study, with 37% of them being the most surprised to find out how sugar-heavy yogurt can be, 34% were surprised to find out how sugar loaded most breakfast cereals are, and 30% were very surprised to find out how loaded pre-made bottled smoothies contained.
Not surprisingly many people think that they are making healthy choices, like pre-made bottled smoothies or yogurts, but they never bothered to actually look at the sugar content listed on the labels. Since taking part in the study 66% of the respondents are making efforts to reduce their sugar intake, 55% are selecting products with lower amounts of sugars, 49% have cut back on sugary desserts, and 49% are now looking for sugar-free drinks/options.
“As people become more health conscious, there are small changes they can make in their food choices that can add up to better outcomes over time,” says CEO of Veggies Made Great Elliot Huss. “Comparing food labels for the same products and choosing a low-sugar alternative is a great way to decrease your sugar intake while still enjoying the foods you love.”
As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement.
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